A (nervous) opinion on how to help someone with Anxiety

I have anxiety.
No, I haven’t been to a physiologist to be diagnosed, but I have been diagnosed with it for irritable bowel syndrome. For the last six to seven months, I haven’t been taking any prescription drugs for it. However, there are many times throughout the month where I think I need to begin taking them again. I would like to believe that I have a very small case of it.

For me, I’m a worry-wart and nervous. My mom has always said that I was her “nervous child”. Lately I can’t ride in a vehicle without having a panic attack. No matter that I am surrounded by some very good drivers in my friends and family. I can’t make “big” purchases; like buying new shoes, a new cell phone, laptop, or anything else without generally over-worrying about it before hand, and then worrying if I made a good choice afterwards. This worrying usually happens for a very long extended period. I like to know everything that is going to happen when I go somewhere or do something, similar to routine. So after I have had something planned out, and I have thought about it for a few days, and suddenly it’s not happening anymore, there is a high possibility of me feeling a loss of control. Throughout a day I can go from extremely happy and content, to extremely sad and depressed, multiple times.

I can’t handle certain things. By ‘can’t handle’ I mean, I physically will shake, get sick, have a racing heart, or get worked into a panic attack. Best example I can think of is suspenseful music, you know, the music they play right before something big happens in a movie. I know something is going to happen, but I don’t know what, and it’s the feeling of not knowing that upsets me. During those situations I do my best to not get worked up by asking fellow friends questions about what is going to happen. Please, be nice and just tell me! It doesn’t ruin the movie for me, or the experience, it helps me be calm enough to actually enjoy the movie. When I’m reading a book, and become so enthralled in it and I reach a part that scares me, I’ll skip ahead to see what happens; then I will go back, and finish the chapter.

I would love to go on and explain more of the weird things I have to work with, but that’s not really the point of this.
I want to give some tips on how to handle someone with anxiety like me; when you catch us during a panic attack or generally doing our best to not have one.

Don’t say: “It will be okay.” “It’s no big deal.” “It’s not the end of the world.” “Try to calm down.”
I know it will be okay. I am reasonable, and exactly have a solid idea of what the real world is, I promise. I know everything in the end will work out the way it needs to be. It’s just at this moment, I have become so worried about something I think/know is silly to be worried about. So now I’m worked up that I’m being what people may think to be “ridiculous” about “something that just isn’t important”.

Understand that I’m trying to work it out or calm myself down.
I know it’s happening, that I’m having a panic attack, or I”m just really worked up. I can feel it. Have you ever had the feeling after being bored for so many hours that you just need to do something? Right that moment? You just have to get up and get going. It kinda feels like that, (at least for me), it has a sense of emergency to it though. As if you need to do something right this moment or something terribly bad will happen, but you don’t know why or what that terrible thing is.

Just Be There. Be with me, sit with me, walk with me, and talk with me.
The biggest way for me to quickly turn a panic attack down is being able to speak with someone. Whether it’s through phone, text, or email. Let me explain my thought process, or how depressed I am that the plan that I had thought up in my head didn’t work. You don’t have to say anything, just listen, maybe I will say the same thing twice, and later we can talk about it.

The best way to handle someone with anxiety, is to talk with them about it.
Of course, speaking with them about it during a panic attack may not be the best idea.
Ask them questions, how do you feel when it happens? What do you think is a trigger for it? How can I help you before them? 

Most importantly, what do you think I could do to help you through them?

We do our best to “appear normal” and to fight the feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety.
Occasionally we slip and people see us “having a moment” or a panic attack.

I always feel silly and embarrassed after having a panic attack. I think most people do.
We are worried that you might consider us messed up, or weird.

We just worry.

I hope this little article helped you understand just a little bit more about anxiety, or at least a little bit more about me.

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